Uterine fibroids symptoms

Uterine fibroids are characterized by lumps of various sizes that develop in the internal and external walls of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are also known as fibromas, leiomyomas, fibroid tumors or simply myomas. However, despite what the term ‘fibroid tumor’ suggests, uterine fibroids should not be mistaken to be a form of cancer since these growths are benign or non-cancerous, which means they not malignant in nature. Uterine fibroids are usually common in women who are in their 30s or 40s. Generally speaking, these growths do not cause problems or discomfort to most women, and in most cases, women are not even aware of the presence of uterine fibroids in their uterus.

Most doctors are still not aware of the factors that cause the development of uterine fibroids, although some believe that female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone may be factors that are responsible for the growth of these fibroids. Since these hormones are produced in large quantities during the years women have their menstruation, symptoms (if they develop at all) are seen in those years. However, after women undergo menopause, the production of these hormones reduce allowing the fibroids to shrink, thereby, making the previously seen symptoms less visible.

In most cases, uterine fibroids are not accompanied by visible symptoms. Sometimes, the symptoms may be visible, but are very mild. When the fibroids grow to a considerable size, they may exert some pressure on the other surrounding organs causing much pain to women. However, in most women the fibroids remain small before shrinking completely during menopause never making any symptom visibly discomforting. Fibroids in the uterus can be of any size, and their growth is very unpredictable. Some fibroids grow very gradually while others can grow very rapidly. Although sometimes uterine fibroids can grow to very large sizes, rarely do these fibroids become cancerous in nature. The number of incidents where these fibroids may have led to malignant tumors is less than 0.01%.

Even if symptoms are visible, usually the first symptoms that accompany the growth of uterine fibroids are long, persistent periods, sometimes accompanied by cramps. Bleeding during periods is generally heavy, and can often lead to a condition called anemia. Anemia is a condition when the body feels weak and fatigue is felt almost all the time.

The occurrence of uterine fibroids is also accompanied by backache and constipation. Patients generally report feeling sick and tired. In most cases, patients have irregular periods and unpredictable bleeding. Sometimes, periods can start again after a week or two after one menstruation cycle. Patients also feel a kind of pressure on their bellies because of the pressure exerted by long fibroids. Because of the heavy feeling that patients feel in the abdominal region, patients may also feel the necessity to urinate frequently.

Fibroids in the uterus may increase in size when women are pregnant and when they are on birth control pills. This is because more estrogen is produced during this time, and the production of estrogen is favorable to the formation and growth of these uterine fibroids. The presence of uterine fibroids can lead to infertility, which is another significant but rare symptom of uterine fibroids. In pregnant women, uterine fibroids can cause miscarriage, abdominal bloating and cramps in the abdominal region. Besides, another symptom which is associated with the presence of uterine fibroids is the experiencing of much pain during sexual intercourse. Many patients with uterine fibroids also report having certain vaginal discharges – a less frequent symptom associated with fibroids.

Generally, most women do not experience any symptoms when they get uterine fibroids. Women showing no symptom of the condition account for about 80% of all women with the condition. Although uterine fibroids if small do not cause any problem and are harmless, women in their 30s or 40s should immediately consult a doctor in the event of any of the mentioned symptoms.

Last updated on Sep 10th, 2010 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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